Strep throat, an ear infection, urinary tract infection; what do these ailments have in common? They’re easily treated with antibiotics. But if left untreated, they can become serious health issues.
Antibiotic resistant infections are on the rise. Two million Americans get sick with these “super bugs” and 23,000 die as a result. This setback to modern medicine has a few causes, perhaps the biggest being the routine overuse of antibiotics on factory farms, where farmers are using our life-saving medicine to promote growth and prevent disease rather than treat it. This overuse essentially kills all the regular bacteria in the animals, leaving plenty of room for the super bugs to multiply and eventually spread to humans.
To prevent this potential public health crisis from progressing, we need to shift the market so these farms change their practices. Who better to force that change than the country’s biggest purchaser of beef: McDonald’s.
While setting up McDonald’s as a public health hero may seem ironic, McDonald’s has already agreed to stop selling chicken raised on medically important antibiotics, and has made claims it intends to make similar commitments with beef and pork. The fast-food giant has a chance to make a huge, positive impact on public health; all that’s left to do is act, and act fast.